Revival, innovation key to rejuvenating football

As long as the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) maintains its lack of transparency and accountability, the state of the game will remain in its current malaise for years to come ("FAS should open up about council election" by Mr Chan Siang Ming; Aug 4).

As the governing body of football in the country, the FAS oversees all aspects of the game, including sanctioning all competitive matches within its remit.

Instead of consistent revival and innovative ideas, we see only a constant rehash of old strategies repackaged without significant change or improvement.

Council members used to be appointed. However, with the current cloak of secrecy surrounding the election of key officials, we can expect an excess of the same old, tired leadership that we have seen over the past two decades. During this period, our national team's Fifa world ranking plunged from 73 to an embarrassing 158 this year.

Our Lions have sunk to new lows by losing to a team of students from Niigata University of Health and Welfare in Japan last month. This was followed swiftly by another embarrassing defeat to Cambodia, who rank 180th in the world and failed to even qualify for the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup.

Head coach V. Sundramoorthy says he is not overly concerned about losing three of four games on this recent tour. However, he should at least be concerned about the lack of quality in the current squad.

In order for the Lions to re-emerge as a force to be reckoned with in the region again, we cannot include any footballer now playing in the S-League.

We need to start instructing our young National Football Academy age-group players that technique, intelligence and the will to win - not strength and work rate - are the qualities they need most.

The way to revive interest in the domestic league is to raise its standard significantly. Local footballers can improve only by playing alongside technically superior teammates from overseas.

In order to attract foreign talent and convince more Singaporeans that a professional career is feasible, a huge injection of funds is needed from corporate sponsors; pragmatic fans will pay for good entertainment.

Singapore is a footballing nation in decline. This is not just down to a lack of talent and passion among the players. It is also an indictment of the standard of our coaching, philosophy and fans. We need key leaders in the FAS to upturn this sinking ship.

Edmund Khoo Kim Hock